Wisely Crafting an Independent Life in Williamsburg
ChooseHome members: Edith and Jerry Chutkow
Youth. Community. Life.
Following distinguished careers –Edith Murray Chutkow in social work and various administrative positions in hospital psychiatry, and Jerry Chutkow, M.D. as an academic neurologist, administrator, researcher, and medical school resident teacher at the University of Chicago, Mayo Medical School and Clinic and State University of New York at Buffalo –the Chutkows knew what they wanted to be surrounded by in their retirement years, no matter what their age.
So in 1999, when they traveled down to Williamsburg, Virginia to visit a friend, they were admittedly also scoping out the colonial city as a possible retirement location. "We are very independent people," Jerry said. "We like our space in our home and around us, but also like to be part of a community."Their checklist looked a little something like this:
- A community situated near a university and flourishing with arts.
- Access to cultural activities.″Proximity to medical care.
- A small town to call home that's close enough to big-city life, like Richmond, Washington, D.C.and Norfolk.
- And most of all, a neighborhood where they could design and build the home they would live in as they aged.
Jerry, now 83, and Edith, 80, moved to Williamsburg in 2002 to begin building that very home, one they constructed with the same precision they selected their retirement city –a master bedroom on the first floor,a bedroom next door should they ever need to employ a live-in nurse, doors three feet wide, an art studio for Jerry's master wood-turning crafts and all living space on the first floor.
While they had effectively achieved all their goals, Edith said, "our family is scattered across the U.S. and we knew we didn't want to disrupt our own children if things were to come up for us acutely."That's when they learned about ChooseHome. "We read about it in the paper and by Thanksgiving of last year we had enrolled," Edith said, adding that after they enrolled they realized some of their neighbors had become members, too."It was the perfect option for us," Jerry said. "It provides the support we need when we need it, as well as access to all the medical and economic assets we could need as we age."
Today, Jerry and Edith continue to enjoy all the amenities living in Williamsburg affords –from visiting museum exhibits, to exploring foodie hot spots in Richmond, and uncovering the small Chesapeake Bay towns with deep character all within driving distance.Most of all, "we're in our own house with ChooseHome as an insurance that when we need services, we can get them," Jerry said. "We're exactly where we want to be,surrounded by youth, community and life."